ˇAzúcar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz Celia Cruz Selector  
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This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Museum of American History. The traveling exhibition is on view at The Museo Alameda in San Antonia, Texas, through April 27, 2008. The national tour of the exhibition is expected to continue through 2009, with a stop in New York City.

¡Azúcar! The Life and Music of Celia Cruz highlights the remarkable career of the Queen of Latin Music. It spanned six decades and took Cruz from humble beginnings in Havana, Cuba, to acclaim as a world-renowned artist.

Combining a piercing and powerful voice with a larger-than-life personality and outrageous and original stage costumes, she was one of the few women to succeed in the male-dominated world of salsa music. At her death in 2003, she was celebrated around the world as the Queen of Salsa.

Salsa is music born in New York City, based on the rhythm of the Cuban son and combined with other Afro-Caribbean musical genres such as the plena, bomba, cumbia, merengue, and rumba. As the personification of salsa, Celia Cruz came to represent all Latinos.

¡Azúcar! ” highlights important moments in Cruz's life and career through photographs, personal documents, costumes, rare footage, music, and music videos. The exhibition starts with her childhood and early appearances on Cuban radio with bands such as the Sonora Matancera. It shows her later collaborations with Tito Puente, Johnny Pacheco, Willie Colón, and Ray Barretto, among others. The dozen featured costumes include a dress worn for early 1950s performances in Cuba and the dress designed by Narciso Rodríguez that she wore at her last public appearance.

The exhibition title ¡Azúcar! —meaning sugar—is taken from Celia Cruz's famous rallying cry, her way of injecting the music with that extra serving of sabor, or flavor.


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